Faults of Type

Assessing virtue is the essence of the whole judging process. However, the assessment of faults is also a part of that process.

Constructional faults such as weak toplines can be easily recognized and evaluated. Their presence in a virtually typical dog will help a judge to evaluate that dog against equally typical competition.

Faults of type, however, pose a problem, for a dog can be structurally sound but may depart from ideal type. An example might be a Welsh Springer who moves correctly and holds a balanced outline but whose head proportion and balance suggest that of an English Springer. This individual cannot be considered wholly typical.

Perspective should always be maintained in the assessment of faults, but when a dog possesses a fault that detracts from the very essence of the breed he represents, then judges should be cautious in their assessment.

There are many dogs who display great showmanship and glamour. This kind of dog is exciting if the fundamentals of breed type are present. A danger lies in the dog who is superficially attractive but is missing some fundamental quality of breed type.

Dogs who are in this category can do harm to the breed on two levels. Less-experienced judges of the breed may use them to develop their “eye” and assume that these dogs have a level of merit that they do not possess. Then there are the breeders who rush to breed to the latest winner, and so the imperfections are passed on.

Thus it is vital that faults be considered as they relate to breed type. Some faults can be carried by great dogs who possess true worth and outstanding breed type. Other faults, depending on the breed, can never compensate for merit elsewhere because, by their very presence, they put forth an individual who is atypical. These are the faults that must be avoided if breed type, which is the most valuable aspect of purebred dogs, is to be maintained and preserved.

Are there aspects of Dachshunds that could be a threat to Dachshund type? Is size a concern? Many large Dachshunds walk a fine line when it comes to losing type. Are ears that are set too low, giving a more spaniel-like look, something to worry about? This is often seen in the longhairs. Are overabundant coats that mask the typical Dachshund outline, not to mention their interference with going to ground, something to think about?

These are a few examples. Can you think of others? —Ann Gordon, Dachshund Club of America, February 2013 AKC Gazette

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